The feud between the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls in the late 1980s and early ’90s , and it was rehashed again in ESPN’s new documentary series about Michael Jordan and the Bulls, “The Last Dance”. Episodes three and four of the series focused on the playoff battles between the two teams, and how the Bulls needed to overcome the Pistons in order to develop into champions. The series also touched on how the “Bad Boys” Pistons were purposely physical with Jordan and his teammates, and how they refused to shake hands with Chicago after Detroit got swept in the 1991 playoffs. This didn’t sit right with the Bulls, who finally got the best of the Pistons.
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Former Pistons All-Star Bill Laimbeer on Michael Jordan-era Bulls: ‘They were just whiners’
“I hated them,” Jordan said in the documentary. “And that hate carries even to this day.”
A key contributor to those Pistons teams was All-Star center Bill Laimbeer, who served as the anchor of Detroit’s ferocious defense. On Monday, Laimbeer made an appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump” to discuss the documentary and reflect on the rivalry with the Bulls, and he made it clear that the feelings of distaste were mutual.
“They whined and cried for a year and a half about how bad we were for the game, but more importantly, they said we were bad people,” Laimbeer said. “We weren’t bad people. We were just basketball players winning, and that really stuck with me because they didn’t know who we were or what we were about as individuals and our family life … But all that whining they did, I didn’t want to shake their hand. They were just whiners. They won the series. Give them credit: We got old, they got past us. But OK, move on.”
If it seems like Laimbeer doesn’t have any remorse on how he and his teammates handled things back then, it’s because he doesn’t.
“Why would I regret it now today? I don’t care what the media says about me. I never did,” Laimbeer said. “If I did, I’d be a basket case, especially back then … I was about winning basketball games and winning championships and did whatever I had to do to get the most out of my ability and our team — and we did. At the end of the day, we’re called world champions.”
Bill Laimbeer with some *strong* words on Michael Jordan's Bulls – "they were just whiners." Plus some great conversation on the Bad Boys, his own throwback unicorn status, the WNBA, and of course…Sleestaks!! pic.twitter.com/4sG0jn09qu
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) April 27, 2020
One of the things that made the rivalry between the Pistons and Bulls so compelling during its day was the fact that there seemed to be genuine animosity between the two teams. And based off the recent comments by members of both sides, it’s clear that those feelings haven’t subsided.
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